A Strong Week Working on New Goals & Habits

A week ago I mentioned some stuff I was going to try to do every day for the month as a sort of reboot of New Years Resolutions. As if biking, walking, yoga and writing every day for years weren’t enough! So this is a short update on four things that I’ve added (or re-added) to my longer list of healthier habits. So far, so good.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Setting goals and making new habits have helped me in a lot of ways. But it’s not easy, it’s time-consuming, and tiring. So I try to simplify things. The first thing I did was a little time management. I had to keep things realistic. By deciding to limit my biking this year, I’ve opened up time in my schedule to introduce new habits. The next part of that was to put the things I wanted to make into new habits on my calendar. So I get bells going off as reminders and also have color-coded blocks. Next was to make it easier with visual clues, like putting the foam roller right next to the yoga mat. A tiny little shift like that seems trivial, but when it’s something you don’t want to do, it’s easy to forget when it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” Last was to commit to the goal while also realizing that they’re only for a short time. I gave myself permission that if I had to skip a night, it wouldn’t that a big deal. Regular is more realistic than daily, after all.

Eating salad every day doesn’t seem like that big a deal for many, but it sure is when you don’t like making or eating salad. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it’s not been that big a deal. And I like or at least tolerate them. I might switch this up to mean just eating more vegetables every day. A salad a day keeps at least some doctors away. I’m not sure which one. Is there a salad doctor? Probably a gastroenterologist, or worse, a proctologist. Try to avoid those.

Flute practice is just for fun. Like with the yoga mat and foam roller so they will beckon to me, I left my flute music, stand and instrument in a visible place. Because I enjoy playing, when the timer goes off after 15 minutes, I usually keep going. I also mix it up by trying to play along with songs on a music streaming station, sheet music I have, and just basic scales and long note practice. There’s no real goal with this but it might be fun to play again with others or even in public someday — IF I get decent enough again. That seems unlikely, but it’s not the point. One advantage which yoga and biking have given me is increased lung capacity; I can hold notes a long time, and practicing will make that even better.

Atomic Habits book by James Clear. Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

As for foam rolling, using it is a form of torture that is still legal in the US, at least. In fact, people pay money to buy the torture devices — I mean solid tube of hard styrofoam. When John Cougar Mellencamp wrote his hit song “Hurts So Good,” it must have been after a foam rolling sesh. I know, it’s not really torture, and I don’t mean to minimize actual “enhanced interrogation.” But it really does hurt a whole heckuva lot to try to smooth out the Oat bands and other tendons and muscles when you bike as much as I do. The aches and pains I’ve been having lately got annoying enough, and with the lack of any massage therapists in A Dude’s abode, there wasn’t another good option. So I set a timer for just five minutes and starting easing into it, and then applt more pressure as I can stand it. When the timer goes off I keep going because it works. The great thing about torture, I mean foam rolling, is that it doesn’t hurt as much when you stop. In fact the fascia and muscles and so on appreciate me working the kinks out of them.

I bailed on strength training the whole month of February thanks to two problem areas. One is okay and the other is getting better, so I decided there was not a good excuse to not just do this every day for 15 minutes this month. I alternate days woth upper and lower body using resistance bands, and so far it’s a good thing. In combination with yoga, it’s a logical path. What health gains it will lead to I’m not sure, but it’s worth pursuing because even just maintaining muscle takes work. As we get older, we lose muscle mass, so keeping them moving is the best way to prevent or reduce that.

Well, that’s not too shabby for a week of effort. Let’s see if I can keep it going for the month. After that, who knows? At some point I might ought to go back to getting more sleep and doing less exercise. How about you?

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10 thoughts on “A Strong Week Working on New Goals & Habits

  1. I’m pretty good at having salads regularly in the summer. Maybe 4-5 days a week. But in winter, I just really don’t want to. I haven’t yet found a hot substitute. I mean I do eat hot things with vegetables in them, but nothing so obviously healthy as a salad.

    When I am eating salads, I usually get a bagged salad and mix in a lot of plain spinach. So I still get the delicious unhealthy toppings (dressing, tortilla chips, etc.), but it’s watered down a bit.

    My main resolution this year is to stay strong against the coronavirus, and I am succeeding at this. I even started double masking while shopping. They are both fabric masks, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean about raw vegetables in the winter. Fortunately it warmed up here. I actually didn’t have lettuce one day so I’ll use some chard and I heat it up in the microwave so you can warm salad — have you ever tried that?

      Yeah, I’ve started double masking too, that’s a great idea Debbie. I use a cloth one and then a medical thin one, you know, the blue ones.

      I’ve learned and had to relearn that small changes, what professional cycling Team Ineos calls marginal gains, do add up over time. Well, they can. But then sometimes we backslide and have to start over. Or change things.

      I think the result isn’t necessarily the thing we should be fixated on but the process and progress. It is a pandemic and we are all aging after all. So celebrate the small wins and don’t stress out too much when you’re not perfect!


  2. That’s great you climb rocks, that’s some serious work. What is line tennis? Heelys healthier habits supplant the bad ones like you say. If they build on each other the sky’s the limit, theoretically at least. We are limited by aging, genetics, and environment and old habit patterns. So we are hopefully on an update trend. Last night at the store i bought some prepared lettuce,. zucchini spirals (discounted), and other veg and instead of potato chips, whole popcorn rounds. Saved money too. Changing taste buds is hard but maybe possible. ¡Adelante, amigo!


  3. For me it’s been about an exchange. The not so good habits or the downright lousy ones getting switched out with good habits. Walking, playing more sports (line tennis and rock climbing) and yes, eating salads, or at the very least a fruit and veggie a day. And now running is back, so that’s good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great effort. You are so motivated. Not sure about the torture device 😂😂, but I might get back to some time with my piano. Thank you 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually Soopermunchkin, I’m not that motivated. I found a way to kind of trick myself into doing things. I’m not losing weight through any of this but I would like to reduce pounds. I have the luxury of time right now so I experiment. If you enjoy piano and can carve out a little time that’s great. Go for it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. 💪 I’m cutting out refined sugar atm. Maybe try that. I’m a week in, almost a kilo down, three more to go. It’s interesting; sugar plays tricks on your mind. Dastardly stuff 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great for you! Sugar is the big bad wolf of dieting. That was the idea by eliminating processed flower products but that has done zero for my health in three plus years I try but find myself for eating things like dark chocolate, frozen yogurt, dried fruit, etc. that still have it convert to sugar. Sugar is highly addictive they say even more so than cocaine and it used to be kept locked up and the cabinet. So it will be an ongoing struggle for me I’m sure Good luck to you!


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